Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy — G. de Purucker

Chapter Thirty-One

The Building of the Kosmos. The Same Fundamental Law throughout Life and Being: an Endless Ladder of Progress. Analogical Processes of Kosmical and Psychological Development. The River of Life.

And by the circulations of the soul being merged in a profound river and impetuously borne along, we must understand by the river, not the human body alone, but the whole of generation (with which we are externally surrounded) through its swift and unstable flowing. For thus, says Proclus, Plato in the Republic calls the whole of generated nature the river of Lethe, which contains both Lethe and the meadow of Ate, according to Empedocles; the devouring jaws of matter and the light-hating world, as it is called by the gods; and the winding rivers under which many are drawn down, as the oracles assert. But by the circulations of the soul the cogitative and opiniative powers are signified; the former of which, through the soul's conjunction with the body, is impeded in its energies, and the latter is Titanically torn in pieces under the irrational life. — Thomas Taylor, "Introduction to the Timaeus"

In consequence of a reasoning process, therefore, he found that among the things naturally visible, there was nothing the whole of which if void of intelligence could ever become more beautiful than the whole of that which is endued with intellect: and at the same time he discovered, that it was impossible for intellect to accede to any being, without the intervention of soul. Hence, as the result of this reasoning, placing intellect in soul and soul in body, he fabricated the universe; that thus it might be a work naturally the most beautiful and the best. In this manner, therefore, according to an assimilative reason, it is necessary to call the world [or universe] an animal, endued with intellect, and generated through the providence of divinity. — Plato, Timaeus (Thomas Taylor, trans.)

IN EXPLANATION of what was said in the final part of our meeting last week: the idea of bringing in the subject, which was then so lightly touched upon, was to connect it with the general scheme of evolutionary development that we shall later have to study more fully, and to show that throughout the entire universe of beings there runs one general plan.

You all know, of course, that there are seven races all told on this planet, in this round on globe D, and that each of these races has its own continent, follows its own course of evolution, has bodies — that is, the individual units of the race have bodies — coordinated to and in harmony with the physical surroundings in which they live. But as regards the question of the division of the human racial stream, that is, the later third root-race, into the sexual humanity which has evolved into the men and women of today, the point to be emphasized at present is that what we call sex is but a passing phase in racial evolution and, strictly speaking, is not normal to mankind on globe D of our planetary chain. This method of procreation actually was copied from the beasts, which "separated" before "man." Please understand this clearly: sex is a transitory phase in racial evolution, and has no more importance than that; and further, as we are now evolving on the ascending arc, as we have already passed in fact beyond the first steps of the luminous arc, of the arc of ascent, we shall find as the ages pass that our present physiological status as men and women is to be outgrown. As a matter of fact, the Atlantean and Atlanto-Lemurian karma has weighed so heavily upon us, the fifth race, that we are actually belated, and have not at the present date, the middle point of the fifth race, reached that stage as regards the evolving of the physical body which otherwise we should have reached.

As it stands, however, the teaching tells us that at the end of our own fifth race, men and women will be disappearing as opposite sexes; and that by the middle of the sixth root-race (the race to come) men and women as separate sexes shall be no longer. The race will consist of beings who are physiologically neither men nor women; and, as hinted just now, the first examples of parthenogenetic reproduction are already due, and would have shown themselves already, were it not for our being belated by the heavy weight of our Atlantean karma, which we have been carrying, or rather working off.

About the middle of the sixth race humanity — then no longer "men" and "women," but humanity — will procreate their kind, if we can here properly use this word, at any rate will evolve or give birth to their own genus, by a process similar to that which took place in the early third race, a process called in the esoteric wisdom "creating sons by passive yoga"; that is to say, by meditation and by unconscious will, at first, later to be succeeded by conscious will in the seventh or following root-race. The humans of that period (the sixth root-race) will produce children by meditation and by will; during the seventh root-race, the last to come on this globe, during this fourth round — a race which to us now would seem glorious — the humans of that race will produce their kind in the same general manner, but by consciously exercised will and meditation, yet still more impersonally and still more ethereally than the sixth race will do. The sixth will do so, much as the flowers grow from the plants, almost unconsciously as it were, hence by "passive yoga"; not so much unconsciously from the mental standpoint but physiologically almost unconscious of any "procreative" act, or of any creative act. The seventh will "create" their offspring with conscious and fully active imagination, a force called kriyasakti in Sanskrit. The difficulty is in finding words to explain something which to us of the fifth root-race is nonexistent, almost, and hence speculative or unreal.

The main point then, here, is to realize that this present physiological state of sex is a passing racial evolutionary phase; and that every abuse, every misuse, no matter of what kind or what the world may think about it, is a reaction contrary to the evolutionary law, to use the popular phraseology; and that while it is true that the present method is the one which nature has evolved at the present time, as said before it is not really the method which primordial humanity might have followed. Even the Hebrew Bible alludes to this matter in a passage which you all may recall. We of the fifth race now are on the ascending arc, and we should at least attempt to lead the race towards a nobler life as pioneers of nature's forthcoming stages.

Our main theme tonight is the building of the kosmos, the building of worlds, and the building of man. Throughout the vast extent of manifested being, there prevail fundamental operations of nature, which men today call the laws of nature because they do not understand their origin. Men personify nature, which is a mere generalizing term; and they use the word law — which is merely a word adapted from human action — in order to give a name to those fundamental movements of being. But there are operations of nature, and these fundamental operations of nature are actually the life-currents in the spiritual essence governing our hierarchy, as the life-currents in man are they which govern the atoms, astral and physical, which compose his body.

Remember that space is not a vacuum, space is not a mere container; if so, there would have to be a container of that container, and so ad infinitum. But space is the infinite fullness of everything; it is the boundless All, without beginning and without end; it is one vast organism; it is a unity; everything is interlocked and interchained with everything else, and through all there runs the one universal life; there is the beating of the one universal heart. This thought is so important for a proper understanding of our philosophy that its repetition surely will be forgiven. There are no vacuum-separations, there is no absolute division anywhere. There is no real vacuum; everything is full, everything is full with and of beings; and these beings with which the boundless All is filled are space itself. Therefore, when we speak of space, we mean not merely the vast, boundless extension of any one plane, but more particularly the invisible spheres, the planes within, ascending, as it were, going inwards, and inwards, and inwards forever; and outwards likewise.

The next thought is that through the action and interaction of the gods, monads, souls, and atoms, we conceive a world as springing forth in the beginning of its manvantara, from and through the invisible deeps of space, and extending itself, as it were, casting itself, projecting itself, forward, in its descent down the shadowy arc of matter-manifestation. And how? Not by a something or a somebody which existed before itself was there, but by making itself its own world, evolving out its own kosmos, which thus becomes its garment or body.

The gods — and please do not think of human forms when we speak of the gods; we mean the arupa, the formless, entities, beings of pure intelligence and of understanding, pure essences, pure spirits, formless as we conceive form — through that impersonal (and may we say inevitable?) energy, at any rate, by reason of the karmic impulses behind them, project from themselves less bodies, inferior bodies, which are the monads; and the monads do precisely likewise and project the souls; and the souls do precisely likewise and project the atoms. Each springs from each. Through all, furthermore, there runs the boundless self, the boundless soul of the upper realms; but each one of these atoms, each one of these souls, each one of these monads, each one of these gods, is its own hierarchy, the supreme part, the head, the seed, from which its own following hierarchy springs. Wheels within wheels, lives within lives, consciousnesses within consciousnesses, beings within beings — a vast and endless congeries of interlocked and interrelated and interliving things. Pray get this thought! It is the very foundation of the ancient wisdom. All questions of theology that have so embarrassed and perplexed the minds of men are solved just by these few simple principles of the ancient wisdom-religion. Think upon them for yourselves, and make your own deductions therefrom.

Now let us briefly follow the evolutionary course of one hierarchy, one solar system. The same law, if you like the word, the same fundamental operation of nature, runs through all that which we find done in the case of a solar system, and is also that which takes place in the case of a universe, is that which takes place in the case of a sun, of a planet, and of the beings which overrun that planet. Suppose then that we figurate a god, a divine seven-principled being, starting into activity after its pralayic sleep, bringing with it the karmic seeds, the impulses from the previous maha-manvantara, every one of those seeds having its karmic swabhava, its karmic characteristic or essential nature; and starting into immediate activity when the life-wave first arouses the sleeping spheres all comprised within the one immense entity which we have agreed to call a god. We do not exactly mean what the Hindus call a deva, which is something else, but a god. But not God, not the Christian God. We mean a god, one of the supreme intelligences, each one of which is the head of a hierarchy, the hierarchies themselves being numberless and "filling space," being, in fact, space itself.

We simply must keep several ideas in our heads at once in essaying an exposition of these intricate subjects. There is one of the secrets of understanding the ancient wisdom: to retain in the mind more than one conception at the same time; it is our safeguard against mental biases, and it is easy. Let me illustrate: a man is driving an automobile; he may be at the same time watching the road, watching for other automobiles, while in the back of his mind there may be forming some plan of work; and he may also be talking to a friend. Let us keep these various thoughts, all that has been spoken of so far this evening, in our mind, as we consider this present matter.

Now this god is seven-principled, as said, and each principle has its own work to do in the building of its kosmos; each one acts according to karmic impulses originating in the previous manvantara particularly, and in all previous manvantaras in general; and each one of these gods moves into manifestation according to the lines traced out for it by its own past consciousness and actions in former epochs of manvantaric activity. Therefore when these seeds of beings start into active existence, the innumerable monads or divine souls — divine seeds which form the clothing of each one of these seven principles — when all these principles spring into activity each undertakes its own particular work, a division of labor, as it were, in the divine realms. First, the highest sends forth from itself a host of less beings, inferior beings; and they find their habitat, their habitation and their realm of activity, in the plane next "below," which is that of its second principle. That second principle then begins its own especial activity and does likewise; and thus two of the seven principles and realms of being are now working; and so on down the scale until we reach the lowest, the prithivi-tattwa, of the divine series or scale.

When the astronomer looks into the ethery spaces and sees those starry clouds, those nebulous masses, in some cases — though not in all, for these nebulae are not all the same — in those which are destined for the beginning of worlds, he sees there what has so far taken place in material manifestation of a hierarchy through the activity of the subseven degrees of the lowest or seventh principle of a divine entity or god informing an otherwise invisible life-center, informed by that god's vital essence, which is the fundamental life of that hierarchy, the fundamental impulse, or what men call the fundamental law, the fundamental operation of its nature, the fundamental characteristic, the swabhava. In such manner, then, the vital essence creates its own dwelling — a sun, a planet, which cycles down, as it were, into visible evolution. But mark: each head of a hierarchy retains its own place, powers, and nature; but its offspring thicken or condense, its offspring thus forming its garments on the several planes of being. Each of these garments is a host of living beings, atoms, souls — the name matters little provided we understand the thought. We must use analogies derived from our human vocabulary, because we have as yet evolved no words which can adequately explain these spiritual things; therefore remember that by the law of analogy such words are applicable, mutatis mutandis, as the Latin phrase goes, "making the necessary allowances for circumstances," to various spheres of being.

When this thickening and grossening of the fabric — which takes place from each entity shooting forth from itself, emanating from itself, other less entities, less here meaning inferior — reaches its lowest degree, then we have a sun and planets. Let us take our planet as an instance. When such a planet has reached its lowest point of evolution driven by the karmic impulse inhering in it, which is at the middle point of its fourth round (which we on our planet have passed), then begins the reaction, the reversal of the kosmic operation, and the life-currents begin to withdraw inwards, thenceforth following the luminous arc "upwards": not leaving its garments behind altogether, but as they were sent forth, so are they now withdrawn inwards. This, then, is an outline of the process of the evolution of spirit, and the involution of matter; just as the processes of projection or casting forth were the involution of spirit and the evolution of matter on the downward or shadowy arc. Thus is the kosmos built.

Now another thought. Each one of these gods, each one of these monads, each one of these souls, each one of these atoms, is an exhaustless reservoir of consciousness, of force, and of matter. Let us take the atmic (or seventh or highest) of the god whom we have chosen as example. Such atmic plane or sphere is a laya-center. A laya-center is a nirvanic center, that part, or place, or condition rather, or state of being, where homogeneity of substance is, where heterogeneity has ceased, or has not yet begun. When such laya-center begins its activity towards evolution, it casts forth from itself ceaselessly, hosts and multitudes of these inferior beings; but its own inner strength is in nowise diminished.

It is, as said, an exhaustless reservoir, a creative center; precisely as the sun — one of the finest analogies that we have — casts forth from itself ceaselessly, during a manvantara, practically illimitable hosts of solar rays, yes, and also of beings. Each one of these beings has its future cyclic course to run; and from being originally an unconscious god-spark, it has to develop into a self-conscious god, and do the same kosmic work that its own great progenitor did or is doing.

We ourselves, when we were not men as yet, unevolved rays only, belonged to the lower realms of spiritual being, then pursued our evolutionary course up to self-conscious manhood; and we who are now humans are destined on the future planet which shall follow this our present globe — the offspring of the earth — to attain a development greater than manhood here; and those inferior lives which are now trailing after us on the evolutionary journey, the beasts, the plants, and the minerals, will have then their turn to pass through the human stage. Life and being form an endless chain, an endless ladder of progress; yet when manhood has been attained comes moral responsibility: at any moment there lies the path before us — the path to the right, up the luminous arc; or the path to the left, downwards along the arc of shadows.

Our time this evening is drawing to a close, but it is necessary for us to call attention to the following diagram:

chart: comic/psycholoical development

Here we have six columns representing analogical cases of cosmical and psychological development. First, we have what we may call the Esoteric Line: to the left of that we have placed the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, representing the full hierarchy of ten stages or degrees. The next column gives the Brahmanic Tattwas. Tattwa is a Sanskrit word, which may be translated as "element," meaning the substantial "reality" back of the phenomenal appearance, upon which the seed-consciousness works; the garment or bearer of the inworking consciousness. Then come in the next column the Elements, as commonly understood everywhere in ancient times. Then comes the Mystic Greek system, as found mostly in the Neoplatonic and Neopythagorean philosophies. And lastly comes the division of the beings composing the evolving life-wave, or river of life, into two generic (general) forms, Dhyani-Chohans, and Pitris.

1. In the Esoteric Line we have first swabhavat, a Sanskrit word meaning, as you know, the "self-evolving," the "self-developing," even translated sometimes as the "self-existent." Corresponding to this is the adi-tattwa in the next column. Adi is a Sanskrit word meaning "original," "primordial." Corresponding to this among the elements is the One. We have no word for this element. The ancients referred to it in various ways. We will simply call it the One, as it is the seed from which the others spring in descent, that is to say, in thickening and grossening during the evolutionary course. The Mystic Greek has the First Logos to correspond.

2. The planes below are next given, reading from left to right. Adi-buddhi, "original or primordial buddhi"; and when the thought is somewhat changed, and a slightly different hierarchy is to be followed, it is called adi-buddha, individualizing the hierarchy in tracing the development of the Hierarchy of Compassion, though when we speak of adi-buddhi, we refer rather to the action of the principles than to the entities embodying those principles. Corresponding to it in the Tattwas is anupapadaka-tattwa, another Sanskrit word meaning "Parentless," that which does not follow an individualized progenitor, therefore parentless, not that it has no source or origin, but that it itself is the primal seed of individuality, which in this particular hierarchy first springs into manifestation in it. The case is like the entrance of the manas into man, thereby giving him self-consciousness and individuality, which he does not get from his parents. Among the Elements we may call it spirit. The Mystic Greek has it as the Second Logos.

3. The third plane below is the gods, corresponding of course to the manasaputras in man, the sons of mind. Its tattwa is akasa-tattwa, the word akasa meaning "brilliant," "shining," "luminous." Let me point out here parenthetically that, strictly speaking, swabhavat is the proper correspondence of akasa; but the way in which this diagram is arranged is an attempt to show corresponding intelligences and activities in the several individual hierarchies here set forth; and therefore akasa-tattwa corresponds in it to the gods in the Esoteric Line. Among the Elements it is aether, but not the ether of science. The ether of science is merely one of its lower principles. The Mystic Greek has likewise the gods, otherwise composing the Third Logos. In Brahmanic philosophy this plane is called mahat, a word which means "great." Mahat is a technical term in the Brahmanic system, and is the Father-Mother of manas; it is the "mother" of the manasaputras or sons of mind, if you like, or that element from which they spring, that element which they breathe and of which they are the children.

4. The monads, corresponding to taijasa-tattwa, meaning "the shining," "the brilliant," "the fiery," "the sparkling." Among the Elements it is fire. The Mystic Greek has the daimones corresponding to it, beings whom the Christians have turned into demons or devils. It simply means spiritual beings of a certain class; but this thought is too intricate to go into at any length this evening. I may merely point out that the daimones belong to the hierarchy of consciousness, as shown in the diagram, and not to the hierarchy of the shadowy arc. Socrates, as you know, frequently alluded to his daimonion, meaning his "guardian angel." As he said: "My daemon told me never what to do, but always what to refrain from doing." It is, as it were, the "conscience" of later thought.

Now these four classes are grouped under the general heading of the Dhyani-chohans, the chohans of meditation, the lords of meditation. The following three classes belong to the Pitris — beings of lower degree, whom you will remember as mentioned in The Secret Doctrine and there called "Fathers," because they are more particularly the actual progenitors of our lower principles; whereas the dhyani-chohans are actually in one most important sense our own selves. We were born from them; we were the monads, we were the atoms, the souls, projected, sent forth, emanated, by the dhyanis, as pointed out before.

5. Now the fifth degree downward comprises in this particular diagram what are called souls in the Esoteric Line. In the Brahmanic Tattwas we see vayu-tattwa. Vayu means "airy," "aerial." In the Elements, air; in the Mystic Greek, the heroes. These are the highest class of the Pitris.

6. The sixth are the atoms. Please remember, as said before, that atom as here used does not mean the atom of science, but what we may call the astral monad, of which the atoms of the physical world are the emanations, the projections. The atoms, the astral atoms, clothe themselves in the physical world, which is their garment-offspring. The Brahmanic Tattwa is apas-tattwa; the Elements show here water; and the Mystic Greek, men.

7. The seventh is the bodies, vehicles merely, corresponding to prithivi-tattwa. Prithivi is a Sanskrit word meaning "extension," i.e., wide, spacious. It is common to speak of prakriti as "matter," but really prithivi is the word better corresponding to what we call matter. Prakriti is rather "nature" and the living garment of spirit. The Element is earth; and the Mystic Greek in this hierarchy of entities shows the beasts.

These last three classes are the Pitris; and below these seven comes the Elemental World, in three planes. One of these elemental planes or worlds we may mention in passing, as it is the "interior realm" which has its locus or habitation at the center of any globe.

Now the evolution of mankind depends upon and follows that of the respective elements in each instance — that is to say, that the human life-wave evolves in each of the seven elements one after the other, from the highest downwards to the last; and then on the turn of the grand cycle, ascending through them all to the highest again. Each globe of the seven of the planetary chain, each of the seven root-races on every globe, partakes of the nature and qualities of the kosmic element it happens to be evolving in and through, whether it be what is technically called earth, or water, or air, or fire, or aether, or spirit, or the Nameless One. Man's seven principles likewise correspond to and are derived from the seven kosmic elements, each to each. And mere bulk of body, or size, has nothing to do with the nature of man and his powers, with the building of man, or his destiny.

For instance, the first and second root-races were gigantic beings as far as mere size was concerned, but they were otherwise mere shells, mere phantom creatures, so to say, the offspring of the pitris alone, as yet not filled with the divine fires of self-consciousness and intellect. They were ethereal on what was then an ethereal earth, our present gross planet Terra. They had no physiological organs, properly speaking, and their shapes were different from ours, although the general human skeletal framework as we now know it was within them, evolved from the previous round on this earth.

In races the fifth and the sixth still to come, humanity will evolve bodies corresponding to the surroundings they will then be in; and, in very truth, those surroundings themselves will be developed or made by the humanity evolving therein, actually evolving their own surroundings, which will be their own emanations. We may conceive of them, if you like, as very small beings, lilliputian in size, perhaps, but nevertheless of gigantic intellects, and of immense spiritual powers. If we will only once realize, as even our scientists are beginning to do, the almost limitless forces locked up in an atom — a thing so small that it as yet is merely a figment of the scientific imagination, which no one has ever seen, or knows anything about except certain deductions which have been more or less gradually made by studying the workings of the atoms through the physical phenomena of beings — we can realize that if even physical matter contains forces or powers as great as even one atom has, what may not man be or become, upon evolving that which is within himself, evolving the unspeakable grandeur of his inner nature, as he is going to do — at least those who will pass the "critical periods." We may understand, I repeat, that mere size of body does not mean possession of power or of knowledge, or of intelligence or of compassion. As a matter of fact, it is perhaps rather the contrary: mere volume or rather mass weighing the inner spirit rather heavily down.

And it is quite permissible to conceive of gods so small that an atom, one of our physical atoms, would be a cosmical universe to it. And to use the old Brahmanic terms, there sits at the heart of Being a god, thinking divine thoughts, and ruling its universe.

So when we speak of men at the end of the fifth race in future ages as evolving physical vehicles out from themselves, which nevertheless will preserve the same general skeleton outline as at present; when we say that their shape will be neither that of man nor of woman, we simply mean that man himself, through suffering and experience, and through the evolving of that which is lying latent within him, and even now ready to appear, will bring forth into exteriorization from within himself his own inner nature: a sexless being. From that time forwards, men and women will be no more, replaced by far nobler humans.

You will remember that at our last meeting it was said that the time had even now come when children might be produced without fathers; but the race is belated in its evolutionary course, and probably ages will yet pass before this parthenogenetic process begins. Yet even this process is merely the first step to a still more different process to come later, but it will take place before this our fifth root-race ends; it will come to pass partly because men and women are growing more alike, instead of more unlike. As long as marriage lasts, however, it ought to be a union of mutual respect and kindness, in which each helps the other to grow morally and intellectually.

At the end of this fifth root-race, man and woman as sexes will have nearly passed away; and in the sixth race, naturally, at certain specified times, without passion, by meditation and by passive will and thought, humans will evolve forth their offspring, much in the "unconscious" way (though the term unconscious is incorrect) that the flowers bring forth their blooms; and in the seventh race of this round on this planet the humans of that splendid time will bring forth from within themselves glorious creations of the active will and of the imagination, their "children"; and there will then be a race of Adepts, of incarnate devas upon earth. This will be in the seventh race on this planet during this present fourth round. It is only because we have sunken morally and are belated that the phenomenon of virginal birth has not yet appeared on earth as a physical fact; though, as pointed out at our last meeting, it has been "prophesied" in religious mysteries, and the initiation ceremonies contained one where the initiant, after certain conditions had been complied with, was said to be "born of a virgin," thus anticipating, or rather forecasting, what was to come to the entire race in the future; this being, as said before, a reward for noble service rendered in behalf of mankind. Here is a wondrous truth, concealed and kept hid for fear of the profanation which would be sure to follow if these divine mysteries, if these divine teachings, fell into unworthy hands directed by scheming brains!

Theosophical University Press Online Edition